News flash! Every week, following the Board meeting, Supervisor Kuehl picks five items you might find interesting, important, and/or fun. It’s your way to get a quick rundown of several highlights of the meeting in no more than 5 minutes! Looking for more? Click here to get the entire agenda.
Shame, Shame, Shame!
Big corporations shouldn’t be allowed to escape liability for their harmful behavior, especially when their actions endanger public health and safety. For too long, Conagra, NL Industries, and Sherwin Williams profited from knowingly selling poisonous lead-based paint to consumers. Recently, a seventeen-year court battle resulted in a ruling ordering these companies to pay millions of dollars to LA County and other plaintiffs in order to eliminate their toxic lead-based paint from homes.
Perhaps predictably, these same companies are doing everything in their power to avoid paying the court-ordered damages but their most cynical move came recently when they pooled over six million dollars to put a misleading initiative on the ballot that would shift all the burden onto taxpayers. The “Healthy Homes and School Act of 2018,” would do nothing more than retroactively eliminate these companies’ responsibility to pay for their actions, and instead shift the cost of repainting and cleaning to residents in the County.
That’s why I am pleased to report that we passed a motion on Tuesday by Supervisor Solis, that I co-authored, to support state legislation that holds the companies to their liability under the court judgment and do everything we can to prevent this despicable and shameful sham.
A first at the Los Angeles MTA!
As a lifelong champion of women’s issues, I am always happy to see highly-qualified women entering into leadership positions here in the County.
On Tuesday, we confirmed the appointment of Emilie H. Elias, who has been serving us so well as a member of the Measure M Independent Taxpayers Oversight Committee of the LA County Metro Transportation Authority (MTA), to also serve on the oversight committee for Measure R transportation funds. Elias is a retired Superior Court judge, and we thank her for taking on this new responsibility!
Family Finding Pilot Report Continues to Show Success
The Board received a comprehensive report on the progress of each of our Strategic Board Priorities for 2018. As part of the section on child protection, the Board received an updated report back on a very successful family finding pilot program, which was launched in November 2016.
The Family Finding Pilot, which originated in a motion I co-authored along with Supervisor Solis, was launched in two regional offices of the Department of Children and Family Services, Santa Fe Springs and Glendora. Since the initial test period, placement rates with relatives have increased from 59% to 82% in Santa Fe Springs and from 58% to 75% in Glendora. This is overwhelmingly positive news, as research shows that placing children with familiar adults and family members helps to ease the trauma they have already experienced.
The success of the Santa Fe Springs and Glendora family finding programs show great promise that we can make the first placement be the best placement for kids in the County’s care. I am delighted to report that DCFS has now launched the pilot at two additional DCFS offices, West Los Angeles and the Vermont Corridor. This model makes so much sense, especially for our kids in foster care and I look forward to equally positive results in these two offices. I have also let DCFS know I fully support a countywide expansion.
Supportive Employment for Transition Age Youth
In another action that supports some of our most vulnerable foster kids, we adopted an action that will authorize the Department of Mental Health to implement supportive employment programs for Transition Age Youth (TAY) in the County’s care.
This is an evidence-based, federally supported model that has proven to successfully improve the rate of TAY to get and keep jobs. Research shows that while over 50% of TAY in the County’s care want jobs, currently, only 5% are employed. The supportive employment model could potentially increase that number tenfold.
The program assists TAY by adding services to their mental health treatment plan, including job placement, benefits counseling, and individualized support to retain employment in areas of their choosing. The recommendation allows DHS to work with qualified organizations to provide these services for TAY ages 18-25 throughout the County.
Increased Funding for Language and Nutrition Services for Individuals with HIV
We also passed a set of actions that will increase funding for two important programs in the County that support individuals living with HIV.
The motions allocate additional Ryan White Program dollars to allow for increased language services to support agencies that serve eligible monolingual and limited-English proficiency clients.
This will help decrease language barriers between providers and clients, and facilitate access, utilization, retention, HIV-specific care, and humane social services.
Additionally, re-allocating these funds will help Project Angel Food to deliver more nutritious meals to individuals living with HIV – fully covering 100% of costs for each of the organization’s 400 clients to receive one meal per day. That’s more than 146,000 meals per year.
The Ryan White HIV Program provides comprehensive care and essential services to individuals living with HIV who are uninsured or underinsured, and helps cities, states, and local organizations provide HIV care and treatment. To read more about the program and its impact, click here.